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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8r p15]

DEDICATION
DES EMBLEMES.

A Tresillustre Prince Maximi-
lian
Duc de Mylan, Sur le Blason
des armes
Mylannoises.

L’enfant naissant d’ung serpent par la bouche,[1]
De ton clair sang les nobles armes touche.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8v p16]Nous avons veu d’Alexandre Monarque
(Pour s’anoblir) monnoie à telle marque,
Quand filz d’Hammon soubz forme serpentine,[2]
Se dist conceu par semence Divine.
On dict serpens par bouche serpenter:[3]
Née est Pallas semence du chef de Jupiter.[4]

Les Armes de Mylan portent d’or à ung
enfant de gueulles naissant par la bouche
d’ung serpent d’azur, qui denote divine no-
blesse d’origine, & extraction. Par ce que
aulcuns des plus grandz personnages du
monde hont este estiméz, engendréz de
daimons ou espritz, incubes, & succubes en
guise, & forme de serpens, comme Alexan-
dre le grand
, & Scipion l’Aphrican, & les vail
lans & merveilleux enfans de Araxe, & Me-
lusine
Serpentes, d’ond encore aujourdhuy
on dict estre descenduz les Nobles de Lu-
xembourg
& Lusignan. Or aulcuns serpens
(comme l’Amphisbaine) produisent leurs
oeufz, ou serpenteaulx par la teste. Et le ser
pent es hieroglyphicques signifie Sapience,
qui s’engendre au chef. On fainct semblable-
ment Minerve dicte Pallas estre née du chef
de Jupiter. Parquoy l’enfant naissant du
chef serpentin peut signifier divinité, & no-
blesse de lignage, & Sapience de bon cer-
veau.

Notes:

1.   The Sforza family had ruled Milan since 1450, having assumed power through marriage (some said fraudulently) to a Visconti heiress, and taken their symbol as their own. They were chased out in 1499 by the French, but restored several times.

2.  For the superhuman birth of Alexander, see e.g. Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 3 and 27: Jupiter in the form of a serpent mated with Olympias, wife of Philip of Macedon, and begat Alexander. Ammon, a north African deity, was identified with Zeus/Jupiter. When Alexander visited Ammon’s sanctuary, he was hailed as the son of the god.

3.  According to e.g.Pliny, Natural History 10.170, Aelian, De natura animalium 1.24, the viper, alone among snakes, produces not eggs but live young. See also Isidore, Etymologiae 12.4.10.

4.  The story of Pallas Athene springing complete and armed from the head of Jove is found in many sources; see e.g. Homer, Hymns 3.308ff; Hesiod, Theogony 923ff.



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